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19 May 2024

Redknapp coy over England role

Harry Redknapp speaks to the gathered media outside Southwark Crown Court, in London. Football manager Harry Redknapp and former Portsmouth FC chairman Milan Mandaric were today found not guilty of charges of tax evasion between 2002 and 2004 when Mr Redknapp served as manager of Portsmouth FC. (Getty Images)

By Agencies

Harry Redknapp remained tight-lipped about becoming the next England manager on Thursday despite being installed as the overwhelming favourite to succeed Fabio Capello following the Italian's shock resignation.

"I don't know anything about the England job," Tottenham Hotspur manager Redknapp told Sky Sports on Thursday. "I've not even thought about it, I've got a job to do for Tottenham... Tottenham is my focus."

Capello quit on Wednesday following a row with the Football Association over the decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy.

His exit capped an extraordinary day for English football, coming just hours after Redknapp was cleared of all charges following a trial for tax evasion.

Capello's departure left England without a manager just months before they compete in the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

Redknapp said he was stunned by the Italian's decision, made after Capello criticised the FA for stripping Terry of the captaincy on the grounds the Chelsea defender still faces criminal charges of racially abusing QPR's Anton Ferdinand in a case that won't be settled until after Euro 2012.

"I was shocked, I was surprised, I didn't expect that to happen," said Redknapp. "We knew he (Capello) was going to leave in the summer (after Euro 2012), but I didn't expect it to happen now."

Although the FA, due to hold a news conference at 12pm (1200 GMT) Thursday, may appoint an interim coach, Redknapp is regarded as the only viable candidate for Euro 2012 and beyond, meeting the governing body's desire for the next manager to be English while possessing a proven track record.

However, Redknapp said he was focused solely on the fortunes of Tottenham, currently an impressive third in the Premier League.

"They've been fantastic to me, Tottenham people... It wouldn't be right to them to even focus on anything else but Tottenham."

As for what the FA might do with regard to appointing a manager for Euro 2012, Redknapp said: "I've never thought about it. They (the FA) will make whatever decision they want to make and hopefully it will be the right decision for the country. But as I say, my focus is all on Tottenham."


Redknapp faces big decision over England: Spurs 

Talk of Harry Redknapp leaving Tottenham Hotspur to succeed Fabio Capello as England soccer boss is premature but the manager could have a big decision to make, one of his club's directors said on Thursday.

Before Capello's exit on Wednesday, Redknapp was already favourite to take over from the Italian after Euro 2012 and now, with a major championship four months away, his name is on the lips of many pundits and fans.

"Our position has been clear - the fans want Harry to stay at Tottenham, the players and the coaches do, the board does, and we hope he does stay," Spurs director Keith Mills told BBC radio.

"If he is (approached) then Harry clearly has a big decision to make. He's managing a top-three team in the biggest league in the world, we're doing incredibly well at the moment. I know he loves it, it will be a tough decision for him."

Capello's departure in the wake of a row over the deposed England captain John Terry came on a day when Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion charges after a 13-day trial.

Having left court a free man with an unblemished record, he soon found himself in the spotlight once again as the media circus launched into full flow following the shock resignation of the England manager.

The front and back pages of British newspapers were full of speculation over what would happen next with The Sun declaring "'Arryvederci" and "We want Harry" and The Daily Telegraph stating "Capello Out. Redknapp in?"



It was uncomfortable reading for Spurs fans, who have enjoyed good times under Redknapp, who led the team to the Champions League quarter-finals last season.

This season they are challenging for the Premier League title, sitting in third place with 50 points from 24 games, five points behind second-placed Manchester United and a further two behind leaders Manchester City.

"I just think at this stage it is very premature to talk about Harry's departure from Tottenham," Mills said, pointing to Redknapp's contract which runs until 2013.

"He is an extraordinary manager, he's done great things at the club and there's been speculation to be frank for several months because we knew that Fabio would be leaving after the Euro competition anyway."

Asked what he thought of the possibility of Redknapp taking the England job on a caretaker basis while staying at Spurs until the end of the season, Mills said: "It's difficult to comment on hypothetical situations.

"Clearly that's not an ideal scenario. I think a football manager needs to focus on doing the job in hand and right now I think Harry, apart from recovering from an ordeal he and his family have been through for the last five years through the courts, he's probably focusing more on the Newcastle game on Saturday.

"I think trying to do two jobs is probably going to be a bit of a stretch for anyone."

Even British Prime Minister David Cameron weighed into the debate, saying he was sorry to see Capello go.

"England now needs a new coach and a new captain and I hope we can get on with that and make sure we make the best of the opportunities this summer," Cameron told reporters in Stockholm.

Asked if Redknapp should get the job, he replied: "The day when the prime minister picks the England coach will be a very bad day for football."